The Air Force Thunderbirds have been thrilling audiences since the 1950’s.
LENGTH: 81 Minutes
OUR PRICE: $24.95
CATALOG #: 20364
UPC #: 6-4603203649-7
ISBN #: 1-56839-301-6
RELEASE YEAR: 2008
PRODUCER: Campbell Media Group & Paul Frederick Productions
Their awe-inspiring demonstrations are seen by millions of people all over the world. Few however get to witness what it takes behind the scenes to safely execute their dazzling air show.
The demonstrations only last about 45 minutes, but it takes 14 hours of preparation to make that happen. While only six pilots fly in the air show, there are over 120 support members on the team, ranging from aircraft technicians to public affairs personnel. This documentary follows the team for an entire air show season, at home, in Nellis AFB near Las Vegas, and on the road across the United States.
Rarely seen moments include a “patching ceremony”where an enlisted person becomes a member of the team after weeks of study, and the loading and unloading of tons of equipment as the team goes from location to location.
Since the teams’ inception, piloting the red white and blue jets has been the privilege of a select few, all talented, all experienced and all male. But this year is different, for the first time a female pilot has joined the ranks of this elite fellowship and her story is truly inspiring.
Her name is Nicole Malichowski and ever since she was 5 years old and went to an air show with her father, she knew she wanted to be a fighter pilot. In the sixth grade when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Nicole was corrected in front of the class for saying “a fighter pilot”, since as the teacher pointed out, “there are no female fighter pilots”. While most kids would accept that answer, for Nicole, her blood boiled and it drove her even harder to achieve her goal. Not only did Nicole become a fighter pilot, but has since been selected to become the first female demonstration pilot in the United States. Her story is inspirational to young and old. How did she do it? “Follow your dreams by surrounding yourself with positive people, and achieve excellence in all you do.”
Join her and the entire Thunderbird squadron in this exhilarating and patriotic program to discover what it takes to be a part of America’s Team!
“Viewers will see plenty of amazing footage here of the incredible synchronized aerial acrobatics of the six fighter jocks who fly the tight diamond foundation, while also being introduced to the first woman on the squad—Nicole Malachowski—who beat the odds (and takes her position as a role model seriously, personally answering all of her fan mail). Recommended.” Three STARS – Video Librarian
“Climb aboard for the ride of your life.
Well, this is going to be a quick one. In fact you can read the following question and if you answer “yes” then guess what—get this disc. Okay, are you ready? Here goes:
Have you been waiting for a DVD that will give you a behind-the-scenes look into the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird stunt team?
Did you answer “yes” or “you betcha!’ or “hellz yeah”? Great! I have good news for you. America’s Team is the disc you’ve been waiting for. Jam-packed with candid footage, thrilling shots of the airplane pilots doing their thing, cockpit tours and plane walkthroughs and a musical photo montage, this bad boy delivers the content that Thunderbird fans yearn for.
And it’s cheesy.
But whatever, there’s a specific audience for this release and they—you know who you are—will eat it up. The documentary’s main focus is on the first female member of the Thunderbird squad, as she embarks on the season-long tour, grapples with the enormous amount of fan mail, signs autographs of young fans and lauds the opportunity for women to penetrate typically male-dominated enclaves like fighter jet exhibit crews.
Buttressing her story is a boatload of behind-the-scenes stuff including visits to the veterans’ hospital, the inter-team softball game and the hard-core training and tactics these pilots have to nail.
The DVD is actually not too bad, sporting a solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a decent stereo track. Extras: an F-16 walk-around and cockpit tour and a still gallery.
There you go, that’s your disc. Enjoy.” -DVDVerdict.com
“…is an amazing documentary on DVD of what it takes to be part of the Thunderbirds, members of the U.S. Air Force with the masterful skills to pull off expert airshows.”-Library Bookwatch-Internet Bookwatch
“The spotlight of this production is shown on Major Nicole Malachowski, the first female member of the team. We see her home life (she has a husband and children) and, when describing her fan mail, we realize just how humbled she is to be part of such a team.
While the viewer will certainly find the human side of the Thunderbirds touching, perhaps even inspiring, and the behind the scenes descriptions of operations interesting, the highlights of this production are the sometimes breathtaking flight sequences. Seeing jets moving at close to the speed of sound mere feet apart while performing maneuvers that subject the pilots to six Gs is quite something. When viewed on an LCD screen these scenes alone, which are all too few, make this quite an experience.
The sound is quite good and the accompanying synthesized music score suits the images well, but sometimes overwhelms the excellent narration. The special features consist of a tour of the cockpit and another of the outside of one of the Thunderbird’s F-16 jets.
This excellent production is best suited for public libraries and those collections with a military and/or aviation clientele. Recommended” -Educational Media Reviews Online